Greatest Hits: I terrified Anna Kendrick at the Chateau Marmont penthouse and all I got was this lousy blog post

So here’s what happened. As some of you know, I spent my five-day birthday weekend staying with my friend Andrew in LA. I didn’t take a five-day vacation just to celebrate my birthday, lest you think I have some kind of cushy job where I can do things like that. Rather, we were forced to take last Thursday and Friday off as a furlough thing, and we already had Monday off for MLK Day. So, rather than sit around my apartment in SF the whole time (which probably would have been far better for me psychologically), I decided to hop a cheap Virgin flight down to LA and stay with Andrew, whom I hadn’t visited since he relocated there several months ago.

The timing worked out incredibly well, because my arrival coincided with several TCA (Television Critics Association) events, as well as a NY Times Style Magazine party at the Chateau Marmont penthouse. Andrew’s job consists largely of attending functions such as these and reporting on them, so for him it was just more of the same. But for me, this represented my very first opportunity to experience the LA showbiz scene up close and personal. Whether I cared about the event or not (Andrew: “I don’t know if you’d wanna go, but the Discovery Channel—” Me: “YES!!!”), I was going to ride Andrew’s coattails wherever they’d take me.

We started off slowly with the Discovery Channel TCA cocktail party, which also included TLC, Animal Planet, and a few other channels I don’t believe in. As a general rule, I am stridently opposed to educational programming, so despite the party being packed with on-air talent from these channels, I barely recognized anyone. Andrew had managed to put me in a room with some of the only celebrities in the world I wouldn’t know, which, as time would tell, was ultimately for the best. But I still saw a few people I recognized, namely Ed Begley, Jr.(whom I’ve always loved in Arrested Development, the Christopher Guest films, and most significantly, She-Devil); Bill Nye the Science Guy, which made me want to call everyone from my 8th grade science class; and the wonderful Missi Pyle, as I’ve posted about previously.

The next night, Friday, was the biggie. First, we were scheduled to attend the E! TCA cocktail party, which was held in the same Pasadena hotel as the Discovery event. Then, the Times party at the Chateau. E! was scheduled from 5-7pm, with the Times party picking up at 7 and running into the night. Originally this seemed like a manageable schedule, but due to unforeseen circumstances (a work crisis for Andrew; me running around The Grove for an hour shrieking “I need to look good at these parties!!!”), we got a very late start.

We didn’t leave Andrew’s Los Feliz apartment for Pasadena until nearly 6pm, which got us to the party around 6:30. I was mildly excited for this event, since E! is a channel I actually watch, and the publicists had claimed Chelsea Handler (a personal favorite of mine) would be in attendance. But alas, no Chelsea. “She decided she didn’t want to come about five minutes before we started,” a bitterly resigned publicist informed us. Sigh. Also missing in action was pretty much every other headlining E! personality: no Joel McHale, no Ryan Seacrest, no Kim Kardashian. Instead, we got Bruce Jenner, Holly Madison, Giuliana Rancic, various Chelsea Lately comedians, and Kimora Lee Simmons, who plopped her fat ass on a loveseat in the corner and wouldn’t get up for anyone. She sat on a special scarf to protect her precious posterior from the pedestrian fabric of the couch, and had her own lighting people when being photographed. It was the most breathtaking display of diva-tude I’ve yet to experience.

The clock was ticking and we knew the Times party had already begun, but Andrew had one celebrity he was determined to get a picture with: Danielle Fishel, best known as Topanga, the girlfriend of my junior-high doppelganger Ben Savage on Boy Meets World. We ended up waiting way longer than anticipated to talk to Topanga, but it was totally worth it. The three of us spent a good ten or fifteen minutes just bullshitting and cracking each other up. D-listers are just more fun, you know? It would prove to be my most successful celebrity interaction of the weekend. Especially considering what happened next.

Having successfully befriended a certified ABC TGIF superstar, we jumped into Andrew’s car and sped off to the Chateau Marmont way across town. We arrived around 8:30, pulling our car up to the special event valet. As we stepped out onto the curb, several paparazzi lifted their cameras in anticipation of someone famous. They took one look at us and put their cameras away. Well, excuse us, I thought. I was about to suggest Andrew do a nip-slip when a modest commotion broke out among the photographers. We looked up just in time to see John Leguizamowalking down the driveway from the Chateau. With the blinding media glare temporarily focused on someone else, Andrew and I shimmied up toward the main entrance, where the Keepers of the List awaited.

This, to me, was the moment of truth. Despite having seen Andrew’s confirmation emails with my own eyes, I still didn’t believe we’d actually get in. So, needless to say, my heart jumped into my throat when the List Keeper actually found Andrew’s name. “Yes, here you are,” he said. I peed a little. “There’s just one problem.” I pooped a little. “We are seriously at capacity right now, and we’re not able to send anyone in at the moment.” My heart broke into a thousand pieces. “So if you’d like, you can wait upstairs in the lounge area, enjoy some complimentary champagne, and check back with us periodically.” Sigh.

So, we trudged up to the lounge area and strolled up to the hostess. “We’re with the Times overflow,” I said in my best you-must-deal-with-celebrity-overflow-all-the-time voice. She looked at us quizzically. And then I knew: There is no overflow. We’re just not famous enough to go up. I bought a new outfit for nothing! Even though I used my discount. But still! Despair! Despairrrrrrr!!! So, we were seated at a table near the entrance, and soon enough they’d sent over a woman with several bottles of Dom Perignon to keep us happy and drunk. I turned to Andrew and shrieked my conspiracy theory about our lack of fame/glamour/breeding and how it would prevent us from seeing any celebrities. He tried talking me down from the rafters (“At least we have free champagne!”), but I was inconsolable.

And then we saw her: there, 20 feet away, talking to the hostess, was the absolutely ravishing Zoë Saldana, one of the hottest actresses of the year between Star Trek and Avatar. “Wait,” I whispered. “If Zoë Saldana is down here, then maybe…” Shortly after this, we saw Will Arnett, which made a tiny valve in my brain explode. And then Jared Leto. Topher Grace. Jessica Szohr. Dianna Agron. Zachary Quinto. Thomas Jane. We turned around and realized Sofia Coppola had been behind us the whole time. I turned to Andrew, eyes and limbs akimbo: “It’s true! It’s true! It’s just an overflow situation! This is really happening! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

We then decided that we should probably get something to eat, since we’d been drinking champagne for the last few hours, from the E! party onward, and we didn’t want to be sloppy-drunk if/when we actually got up to the penthouse party. I’d heard that the Chateau had amazing burgers, so we each ordered one before settling in for some slack-jawed star-watching (and, in my case, bathroom-stalking of Jared Leto and Zachary Quinto. Yes, I followed them into the bathroom, and I will neither explain nor apologize).

In the thirty minutes or so that it took for our burgers to arrive, the lounge had become substantially more crowded, and the hosts had begun consolidating the disparate guests to very small tables. Andrew and I glanced up to see a group of revelers being led toward us. “Kim Raver Kim Raver Kim Raver,” Andrew said calmly under his breath. “Who?” I said, amazed that there was yet another person I didn’t recognize. Before he could explain, we found our tiny little table exponentially more crowded by the addition of six more guests, including actress Kim Raver, who was seated directly to my left/on my lap.

Kim and her posse didn’t exactly rush to include us in their conversation, so I took the opportunity to look her up on my iPhone. Sure enough, her list of credits —Third Watch; Lipstick Jungle; Grey’s Anatomy — were all shows I hadn’t watched. Andrew, little old lady that he is, had watched all of them and was excited to be sharing a table with her. So, as we sat there awkwardly, Kim and her friends began having fairly standard actress-style conversations about whether to eat:

Kim: So, do you guys wanna actually, like, eat? *grimaces*

Friends: Ooh, um, not sure…

Kim: Like, should we just get, like, some olives? Or actually get, like… a salad. (the word “salad” was said with such horror, you’d think she’d suggested they each order a five-pound burrito).

Just then, as if on cue, the waiter approached our table with mine and Andrew’s dinners: two gigantic, unwieldy, waiter-toppling cheeseburgers, each with a massive tangle of salty greasy french fries. I froze. Kim and her friends looked up at the platter, literally dropped their jaws, and then just started laughing hysterically at the idea of eating something so preposterous. At least this finally broke the ice between us, inspiring a series of patronizing faux-compliments about our food to rationalize their laughter: “Wow, I wish I could eat that!” (translation: “You are fat!”); “That looks, um… amazing!” (trans: “You will never be famous if you eat that!”); etc.

While we’d successfully broken the ice between ourselves and our marginally famous table mate, I now faced a horrifying new reality: I was about to eat — a fucking cheeseburger and fries, no less, which I eat maybe once a month — in front of a television actress whose job is to remain thin enough to make Ellen Pompeo look healthy in comparison. For those of you who’ve seen me eat, you know exactly what this meant: carnage. I eat with uncommon enthusiasm, speed, and violence. It is not unusual for me to look up from my plate while eating and discover people staring at me with awe and terror. “Did you taste that?” is a frequently asked question following this spectacle. “Have you eaten in the last month?” is another. And I was about to do this in front of Kim Raver.

Furthermore, the amount of people seated at our table meant each of our chairs was pushed out about three feet, so everyone could fit. I stared longingly at our burgers, which took up roughly 90% of the table space, and knew what my next hurdle would be: eating my burger without spilling a substantial portion of it onto my brand new white dress shirt. Historically, the ratio of times I wear a white shirt to the times I spill food or drink on myself is 1:1. But I vowed to myself that this would be different. I refused to attend my first (and possibly only) A-list party with a massive greasy ketchup stain front-and-center. So, in the manner of a soccer mom at a BBQ, I held the plate directly in front of my mouth, unhinged my jaw, and shoveled the food in as quickly as possible. Not only would this prevent any tell-tale spills, but it would also conclude the humiliating experience of eating a burger in front of a television actress as quickly as possible. And when you’re me, that’s pretty damn quick.

Approximately forty-five seconds later, I triumphantly threw my empty plate back at the table and resumed guzzling the free Dom Perignon. Andrew had barely finished tucking in his napkin by this point, which fortunately meant I’d have a few minutes to let things settle so as to prevent myself from vomiting on anyone. Then, just as Andrew was finishing and we got our check, the champagne server informed us that the party had cleared out a bit and we were invited to head up now. This was it. In the blink of an eye, we’d ditched Kim Raver and her olive plate, and catapulted ourselves to the elevator.

Neither of us knew exactly where we were going, though. We knew the party was in the “penthouse,” so we assumed it would be on the top (seventh) floor. But when we got up there, all we saw was the usual cluster of hotel rooms. The Chateau Marmont, while charming and wildly expensive, is really a very modest and old-fashioned establishment. “Maybe there’s a designated penthouse elevator in the lobby?” I mused to Andrew. But we could hear the vague sounds of a party coming from nearby, so Andrew suggested we walk down to the sixth floor.

Sure enough, a woman with a list was standing in front of one of the doors, just next to the elevator. Andrew walked over to introduce himself, and I realized that Will Arnett was walking right next to us on his way out of the party. A moment later, the door opened and Eli Roth, looking extra-hot in a full black beard, walked to the elevator and hit the button. What followed was a brief, bizarre staring contest between myself and Eli Roth while Andrew chatted with the Times woman. I was trying not to stare, but whenever I’d glance at him, he was unabashedly looking at me. He had that crazy gleam in his eyes from just before he’d kill a Nazi in Inglourious Basterds, so I was nervous for a second, but also titillated. We just kind of stared at each other, exchanged a few quick pleasantries, and then his elevator came and we walked into the party.

The Chateau Marmont penthouse, like the rest of the hotel, is more modest that you’d expect. Really, it resembled a standard apartment with an uncommonly large deck. There was a long narrow hallway with a few average-sized rooms off of it; at the end of the hallway was a somewhat larger room with a few couches and a bar; and beyond that was the deck, which also had a bar (and a breathtaking panoramic view of LA). It was not an especially deluxe space. Which made what was about to happen all the more surreal.

We had barely walked into the hallway, and Andrew was still talking to the Times woman, who was trying unsuccessfully to force him into an interview with the owner of the Chateau, when I looked over and saw them: standing just a few feet away from us in the hallway were none other than Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. In the flesh. Standing there. A few feet away. From me and Andrew.

My body reacted as if I’d accidentally stumbled upon some magical forest where two unicorns were frolicking together. I froze, and stared, and tried to disappear so they wouldn’t notice me and vanish. As Andrew was still trying to shake the publicist, Tom and Katie walked toward me on their way out of the party. I was still standing by the door, so I had to step aside to let them out. They squeezed by me, close enough to smell the burger grease on my breath. While standing directly in front of, Tom turned, looked (up) right into my eyes, and said, “Hey.” I vomited down his throat. No. I smiled and nodded politely, and stepped further aside to let him out.

In person, he looks like a cartoon movie star: blinding smile, unearthly energy, dancing eyes, impenetrable confidence, the hair, the clothes. Katie, who was evidently programmed on “repeat” that night, also turned to me and mouthed “Help me!” No, she gave me a smile on her way out the door. She was about as tall as me, and definitely had that sleepy/vacant look in her eyes. They were holding hands the entire time I could see them, presumably because otherwise Katie will run.

Still reeling from this interaction, I found Andrew and we began walking down the hallway. The first thing we saw was Ben Stiller carrying on a conversation with Justin Bartha and Ashley Olsen. It was at this point that we simultaneously experienced some kind of physiological ascent. We left this earthly realm and soared through a wormhole into whatever strange new celebrity dimension we’d entered. Because this was not a huge gala. It wasn’t for press or publicists or photographers. It was a small, private A-list party in a hotel penthouse, where celebrities could stand around with other celebrities and congratulate each other on being celebrities. And somehow, Andrew and I were in the middle of it.

Here is the official list of those who were in attendance, courtesy of the NY Times, so you can know whom to picture standing around us:

Dianna Agron, Eva Amurri, Will Arnett, Rosanna Arquette, Bob Balaban, Elizabeth Banks, Laura Bickford, Emmanuele Chiriqui, John Cho, Joan Collins, Rachel Leigh Cook, Sofia Coppola, Roman Coppola, Chace Crawford, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Claire Danes, Dana Delaney, Stephen Dorff, Nora Ephron and Nick Pileggi, Geoffrey Fletcher, Jane Fonda, Tom Ford, Ben Foster, Troy Garity, Brian Geraghty, Topher Grace, Heather Graham, Carla Gugino, Mamie Gummer, Woody Harrelson, Teri Hatcher, Amber Heard, Thomas Jane, Ryan Kavanaugh, Nicholas Kazan and Robin Swicord, Anna Kendrick, Diane Kruger, John Leguizamo, James Keach and Jane Seymour, Chris Klein, Adam Lambert, Amy Landecker, Jared Leto, Lindsay Lohan, Shirley MacLaine, Jena Malone, Monet Mazur, Christian McKay, Mike Medavoy, Nancy Meyers, Rhona Mitro, Julianne Moore, Matthew Morrison, Oren Moverman, Carey Mulligan, Olivia Munn, BJ Novak, Ashley Olsen and Justin Bartha, Chris Pine, Lindsay Price, Wolfgang Puck, Zachary Quinto, Sam Raimi, Kim Raver, Eli Roth, Zoe Saldana, Jason Segel, Chloe Sevigny, Molly Sims, Ben Stiller, Oliver Stone, Michael Stuhlbarg, Jessica Szohr, Quentin Tarantino, Marisa Tomei, Sam Trammell, Christoph Waltz, Harvey Weinstein, Michael Wincott, Missy Yager, Anton Yelchin, Rachel Zoe

Also: us. But we didn’t make the official list, for some reason.

So, needless to say, I wasn’t in my right mind for the two hours we were there. Oxygen was no longer flowing to my brain. I couldn’t breathe, let alone fart. We were in some kind of celebrity playground, and I wanted to stay forever.

Andrew and I got some white wine at the bar and walked around staring at people. This would primarily be the substance of our night. There were no publicists to talk to, and there is an unspoken rule forbidding intermingling between the Specials and the Non-Specials. So we just had each other, our free drinks, and our eyes. But that was plenty.

Meanwhile, as Andrew and I were getting (un)comfortable in the penthouse, this was happening outside: a storm was about to blow into the Chateau Marmont penthouse, and that storm was named Lohan.

We had precious little time at the party before the Lohan dog-and-pony show — consisting of Lindsay’s ghost; delusional self-proclaimed “White Oprah” mother Dina; and equally delusional prematurely middle-aged famewhore younger sister Ali — came teetering in. Sadly, this meant the end of our time with a fair amount of the stars mentioned above, because the moment the Lohans got there, they were like, “Okay, we quit this bitch!” Seriously. The second these A-listers saw Lindsay Lohan drag (or dragged by) her mother and sister into their rarefied little party, there was an immediate exodus out the door. Anna Kendrick, who was standing a few feet away (more on that later), turned to her friend and audibly muttered, “Oh. My. God.” When you read in the tabloids about Lindsay being a pariah who can’t get work, it’s not a fucking joke.

There is something heartrendingly tragic about Lindsay in person. She just wobbled around the party like a dying baby giraffe, trying unsuccessfully to get other stars to talk to her. She seemed to have the best luck with Ben Foster, Anton Yelchin, and Woody Harrelson, who was probably just really high and unsure if she was a flesh-and-blood person or some kind of apparition. I snapped this picture, the only one I took all night, of Lindsay talking to Woody. Unfortunately one of her platinum-blonde Long Island linebacker friends blocked Woody, so all you see if Lindsay’s back. She’s the one on the left.I think Dina saw me try snapping this picture with my iPhone, because I saw her grab a quick word with Lindsay followed by a few quick angry looks in my direction right afterward. Because this wasn’t a camera party, you see.

I did not leave her a-Lohan.

I did not leave her a-Lohan.

Can we talk for a second about Lindsay’s back? I mean, fuck. Look at it. She is only 23 years old, and she already has the gnarled, withered, defeated-by-life spine my Great-Aunt Helen had in her final years. If you’re wondering about her hair, she’s wearing it up with a headband. It does not resemble human hair in any way. And then there’s her face. Up close and personal, Lindsay’s face looks like a vagina. This was the first thing that popped into my head when I looked at her. Her face looks like a swollen, puffy, shaved, stripper-tanned vagina. I was standing there, taking her in, trying to find some way to understand how this could possibly be the same vibrant firecracker from Mean Girls. But I couldn’t. There wasn’t the slightest of resemblances. And that made me want to cry.

As for Dina and Ali, they were exactly what you would expect. Dina found a couple of wannabes who were only too happy to receive her patented (and patently bad) advice on life, love, and their “careers.” She is the archetypal Mom-ager, seemingly the inspiration for Amy Poehler in Mean Girls, except not as fun, and convinced that she has some kind of mind for business. Ali is perhaps the biggest tragedy of all: this young girl, not even 18, just roaming around the party with this huge smile on her face, lacking any self-awareness about what the world thinks about her and her family. As far as she is concerned, Lindsay is still the biggest star in the world, and being her little sister is the luckiest break a girl could have.

But enough about the Lohans and their embarrassment. Onto my own!

It’s taken me a while to get here, but now I will tell you the story behind the title of this epic post. It’s a little something that occurred between myself and Anna Kendrick, presumptive Oscar nominee for Up in the Air, costar of the Twilight films, overall rising star, and young woman living in fear thanks to yours truly.

So here’s the thing. I knew that I shouldn’t try talking to anyone at the party. As I mentioned earlier, it is inappropriate for Non-Specials to try mixing with Specials. But I wanted to talk to Anna Kendrick. I really, really did. And here is my stalker logic as to why: I feel a special connection to her. I know. Scary.

I saw Anna’s first film, Camp, six years ago at a very pivotal moment in my life. In many ways, it helped point me in the direction of becoming the man I am today (i.e. a very gay man). And while many of the performances in Camp are mediocre and amateurish, Anna, then 17, was the one brilliant exception. In addition to the wit and intelligence she brought to her line readings, she also does a truly surprising and exceptional performance of “The Ladies Who Lunch” from Stephen Sondheim’s Company:

Good stuff, right?

I was terribly impressed by her, but I thought she’d succumb to the same dead-end careers as the rest of the promising young Camp cast. Then she showed up in a widely acclaimed performance in the indie hit Rocket Science. I was like, “Yay, she’s getting work!” Then I found out she was in the Twilight movies, so I was like, “Oh… well, good for her?” But THEN I found out she’d landed a pivotal supporting role in director Jason Reitman’s follow-up to Juno, co-starringGeorge Clooney and Vera Farmiga. And never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined how overwhelmingly positive the critical response would be. She’s also the crowd-pleaser in the film. She steals every scene she’s in; she nails every line and every emotion. Jason Reitman wrote the role for her, and he clearly understood her essence, because she is absolutely flawless. One is hard-pressed to imagine another actress who could have fleshed out the character to the degree Anna does.

Now, having read my gushing about her, you can imagine why it was probably a bad idea to try talking to her.

But here’s the thing. It’s always been my impression that actors like being complimented about the roles they did before they were famous. It distinguishes the true fans from the fairweather ones (more stalker logic, I know). So, I just thought I’d let her know how much I loved her work in Camp, and how excited I am that everything is happening for her. Also, I had just come from a thoroughly enjoyable party chat with Topanga, right? How hard could it be to have a similarly fun, friendly conversation with Anna Kendrick?

So, Andrew and I were standing on the deck, and I was staring at Anna inside the party, as I’d frequently done throughout the evening (creepy, yes, I know). Then, suddenly, she and her boyfriend left the circle they’d been standing with and began making their way toward us. I could see from their trajectory that they’d soon be walking directly in front of us, so I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was my chance. She briefly became tangled in her Critics Choice Awards red carpet dress while attempting to step onto the deck, and a voice in my head shouted, “She’s vulnerable! POUNCE!” But I recognized this as a bad voice, so I didn’t listen to it.

Soon enough, she’d gathered her skirt and resumed walking out onto the deck. I said aloud, “I’m going to talk to her.” Then, when she was in front of me, I said, “Anna?” She stopped and turned. Her face clouded over slightly when she saw that I wasn’t anyone she recognized, but still, she stayed and nodded. “Hi!” I said. It went downhill from there.

See that YouTube video I posted earlier? Well, that video wasn’t available before Anna got as famous as she is now. There used to be a really crappy YouTube clip of “Ladies Who Lunch,” but it sucked, and I always wished there’d be a better one. Then, when I searched for it again after Up in the Air came out, I saw that someone had uploaded a much better version of it, and this one advertised Anna’s name front and center. For some reason, in my crazy oxygen-deprived brain, I thought that this was something she absolutely had to know. However, I intended this to be a quirky little anecdote to be tossed in later in our chat. But somehow, it became my thesis.

So there she was, standing in front of me, in all her gorgeous red carpet glamour, resplendent with newly-acquired star power. And she was looking at me. And I was looking at her. And my brain just melted. Yet somehow, the words kept coming. Also, big gestures. Very big, very ridiculous hand gestures that would reasonably terrify a tiny young actress when coming from a giant screaming fan who is three times her size.

Me: I Just wanted to say that I am SUCH a HUGE fan…

Anna: Oh, well—

Me: …and that I have LOVED YOU since CAMP, and you are just SO GOOD in that film…

Anna: Well, thank—

Me: …and I mean my GOD your performance of “Ladies Who Lunch” is one of my FAVORITE things EVER…

Anna: Oh, thank—

Me: …and I think one of my FAVORITE things about how BIG you’ve gotten is that, that, on YouTube there, there was this clip of “Ladies Who Lunch,” and I would ALWAYS WATCH IT, but it was, uh, it was just really low-quality, and it would make me SO MAD…

Anna: (eyes begin to widen in fear)

Me: …I always wished there was a better version, because your performance of that song was just SO GOOD and it DESERVED a better version! And now that you’re SO FAMOUS, there are tons, TONS, of high-quality YouTube clips of that song! Which is AWESOME when I WATCH THEM!!!!!!!

Andrew: (attempting to calm her down with a joke about the crazy person) He just loves his “Ladies Who Lunch.”

Anna: (beginning to withdraw) Oh, my, well, that’s—

Me: So I’m just SO HAPPY for you and EVERYTHING that’s happening, and…and…and…just…

Anna: (pleading with her eyes for me to let her go)

Me: …congratulations!

Anna: (like a seasoned professional) Thank you! I’m sorry, but I have to go talk to my friend. (points in general direction of freedom)

Me: OF COURSE! OF COURSE! BY ALL MEANS! GO! GO!

(Anna and her boyfriend hurriedly walk away)

Me: (turning to Andrew) I think that went well!

Andrew: (makes pained face)

Me: What? Did it not go well?

Andrew: (makes pained face)

Me: (realizing what happened) Did I terrify her?

Andrew: Lil’ bit.

Me: Oh God.

And then I knew that I couldn’t be trusted to talk to any more celebrities.

I made an intentional effort not to look at Anna any more times that night. Fortunately, she seemed to leave not long after the attack, so that made it easier for me. Which is not to say that Andrew and I were done creeping out celebrities. We decided that we wanted to time our departure with a celeb’s, so we could ride the elevator with them. I mean, why not? We’d be leaving anyway. Eventually, we noticed that Adam Lambert, Eva Amurri, Ben Foster, Jena Malone, and a few others were leaving all at once. This was pretty much the last exciting celeb clique at the party by that point, so we immediately chugged our drinks and rushed out after them. Goodbye, penthouse.

As we stood next to them in front of the elevators in what was probably a highly suspicious manner, Adam turned to the other Specials and said, “You know what? Let’s just take the stairs! Get our blood flowing!” They all eagerly agreed, and began walking down the stairs. This was probably intended as a hint for us to take the elevator and stop following them, but he was gonna have to do more than that to get rid of us. “STAIRS” I hissed to Andrew, who nodded enthusiastically. And then we followed them down six flights of stairs. What? You wouldn’t have?

Eventually we all came out at the landing at the top of the Chateau driveway, where Specials wait for their cars to be brought to them to avoid the paparazzi. But at the time, Andrew and I thought our car would be brought over as well. Um, no. But we stood there for a few minutes before realizing this, during which time we experienced a nice little Saved cast reunion between Eva Amurri and Jena Malone. It was while watching these two old friends catch up that Andrew and I realized two things: (1) we were being totally creepy, and (2) we had to walk down to the valet ourselves if we wanted his car back. So, with one last look around, Andrew and I shuffled down the driveway past the disinterested paparazzi, handed his ticket to the valet, got in his car, and drove home. And the oxygen all came rushing back at once, and I screamed and screamed and screamed.

P.S. — When I was flying back to SF from LAX on Monday, three days after the Chateau incident and two days since I’d seen any kind of celebrity (we’d walked past Joe Jonas sitting outside a cafe in Los Feliz on Saturday afternoon, but he seemed like no great shakes by that point), I found myself waiting in the security line with none other than my Chateau party companion, Ben Foster. Immediately, the staring began. I couldn’t help myself.

Should I talk to him? I wondered. Should I make him my first post-Kendrick celebrity practice? Work out a script in my head, keep it simple, and then leave him alone? Or should I mention that we were at the same party on Friday? But no, what if he remembers me as that creepy guy who stared at people all night? What if they all do?

I was in front of him in line, so I went through security first. I had already put my shoes back on and gotten my things together before it was his turn. I briefly thought about just standing there and watching him go through security. I want to watch him take his shoes off, I thought. No! That’s the voice that wanted you to pounce Anna Kendrick when she was vulnerable! Don’t do it!

So, I bade him farewell, and walked to my gate. That’ll be the last time I see him, I thought. I arrived at my gate, set my stuff down, and turned around. There he was. In my gate. Okay, what? I thought. Are we gonna share a plane? What is happening?Setting my stuff down, I following him around the gate — at a distance, like any savvy stalker — for about five minutes. I was about to follow him into the newsstand when, at last, a good voice entered my head: Don’t go any further. Leave him alone. You are a crazy person.

And so, with every last bit of self-control I could muster, I went back to my belongings, moved them to a seat where my only view was of the tarmac through the window, sat down, and forced myself not to turn around and look for him anymore. And then, when I got up to get food about an hour later, he was gone.

Click here to see a photo gallery of the party.

This post originally appeared on The Sassmouth Chronicles on January 20, 2010.

 

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